I hopped onto the bus early this morning and arrived at Ishinomaki, a coastal town that was heavily affected by the tsunami 3 years ago, to help out as a volunteer in the biggest event in Ishinomaki of the year- the River Festival. I chanced upon this opportunity through NGO Peace Boat, where I am doing internship currently, and thought it would be a perfect opportunity to be part of this exciting festival. I remember the first time I came to Ishinomaki, where I got so lost in this little town even with a map in hand. This time, being the 5th time, everything feels so familiar as I could easily navigate without any maps.


I will be staying at a hostel of Peace Boat Disaster Relief Volunteer Centre for 3 nights. Since I arrived early, I went around the streets and saw various groups of people preparing for tomorrow’s festival. Looks like it’s going to be a blast!


At the same time, I saw this sign in the streets of Ishinomaki and realized that the tsunami is still in the shadows of the city, and will stick to its image for a long long time to come. It is not necessarily a bad thing, since it provides us a timely reminder of the reality we live in. (The sign says: Tsunami reached this height on 11 March 2011.)


Looking forward to the festival over the next 2 days!